By Jim Jacek
Every week we are featuring a candidate that is running for city council in Allen Park. This weeks featured candidate is Dan Loyd. Here is his story: In 1997 my father, a teacher at Allen Park High School, proposed a course titled Impact on Government. At the center of the course is the idea that an individual citizen has the greatest ability to impact government at a local level, and those decisions made on that level have the greatest impact on a citizens life. Since I was a small child, I watched my father speak to the Allen Park City Council about the importance of supporting our police and firefighters; the importance of public infrastructure; and the importance of maintaining the level of community that has made Allen Park a place people want to raise their children, and where those children return to raise their own families.
In the weeks and months since deciding to run for council, I have been greeted with one consistent question from friends and family: “Why would you want to do that?” My steadfast response has been the lessons I learned from watching my father; it is an individual’s civic responsibility to serve their community if they are able.
For the last five years, I have worked as a High School English and Social Studies teacher. Four of those five years have been spent in Allen Park Public Schools (three at Allen Park Community School [Go Penguins!] and most recently at Allen Park High School [Go Jags!]). Furthermore, I have been fortunate enough to coach everything from chess to wrestling within our city. Everyday members of the community entrust their children to me so that I may train them in the skills necessary to live in a civil society: the ability to understand the world through another’s eyes, the ability to develop opinions based on facts, and how to make clear, evidence based arguments.
If elected to council, I would make use of these skills to best serve the interests of the citizens of Allen Park, so that people will continue to look to our community as a place to make a life.
I want to help build a diverse and inclusive society where individuals who look differently, pray differently, and love differently strive together for the same goal: a better Allen Park.
For such a future to thrive it is necessary to ensure a safe place to live and work; public spaces for citizens to gather to play, learn, and grow; and finally, a vibrant business community where the entrepreneurial spirit can take root and meet the needs of Allen Parkers.
As citizens of Allen Park, we are incredibly fortunate to be protected everyday by a steadfast and dedicated group of police officers and firefighters. We are equally fortunate that many of these individuals are our neighbors. In my role as head wrestling coach, I have had to call for emergency services. In those adrenaline filled moments, there is no substitute for the reassurance of seeing a neighbor and a friend arrive on the scene.
As it stands now, 51% of the police and fire operating budget is supported with the public safety millage passed in 2013. If that funding were to be lost, it would be devastating to the institutions entrusted to protect us. Therefore, steps should be taken to secure the same level of funding is enshrined in our city budget, so that those who are willing to risk their lives for our safety, don’t also have to worry about their livelihood.
Our public spaces provide Allen Parkers places to play, interact, and grow. As a child growing up in Allen Park, I developed lifelong friendships playing APAC baseball on our city’s diamonds and as a Bulldog on the gridiron of Cunningham Park. As we continue to grow as a city, we must make a priority of maintaining these spaces to strengthen our community and developing new spaces and opportunities for children to play and grow together.
These spaces and programs are not only for our youth, but should be available to all citizens. It is important that we provide opportunities for adult learning and recreation, so that new friendships and bonds can be developed between our citizens, whether they are nine or ninety.
One of our public spaces that provides the most opportunity to the citizens of Allen Park is the Public Library. I will never forget the day I was first able to sign my name on the back of an Allen Park Library card. Whether I knew it then or not on that day, I gained access to a whole new world of knowledge and opportunities.
Our public library provides Allen Parkers access to tools and resources necessary to be competitive in the modern world. If it is an individual using the computer resources to update their resume, to research new skills, or to gather amongst neighbors to discuss new ideas; we need to work to bring the Allen Park Library into the 21st century so that it will continue to provide access to the world for future generations of citizens.
Finally, an essential aspect of creating the city we all deserve is the continued development of our business community. Since I’ve moved back to Allen Park from college in 2011, the city has made tremendous strides in developing a lively downtown area. Every year it seems we have a new, exciting place to gather with friends for a meal, a cup of coffee, or a drink. It is crucial that we continue to work to support our enterprising neighbors who feel they have the ability to fill a need within our marketplace.
This means working with governmental agencies, such as the Downtown Development Authority, to maintain our public infrastructure and continue to host public events that make Allen Park an attractive area for residents to walk, dine, and shop.
Ultimately, I believe myself to be smart, capable, and attuned with the needs of my fellow citizens. But what makes me truly qualified to hold the office of an Allen Park city council member is my sacred respect for democracy developed all those years ago watching my father.
It is a respect that grew during my time studying at Central Michigan University. A respect that continued to grow in my postgraduate studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy, and it is a respect that I work to instill in the minds of my students every day.
Therefore, if I am fortunate enough to be selected by the people of Allen Park to represent them, I will uphold the sacred duty entrusted to me to serve the members of this community.
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